Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review of the Sarma Maker 3000©

I don't actually know what this device is called, but a mini Google search showed me that there is a general consensus on the super efficient title of "Rolling Machine for Stuffed Grape Leaves." My name is better.
Anyway. A few years ago, when my parents came to visit me in Armenia, a man working at Vernisaj (outdoor flea market where you can buy all of the things) stopped us to talk about the Sarma Maker 3000. It felt a little like those super dramatic infomercials as he asked if we ever make sarma and before we could answer asked if we ever find the rolling process tortuous. He told us this device would change our lives. We decided rolling sarma was indeed tortuous and bought the machine--I don't remember how much it was but it was very cheap. He gave us a quick demo and it seemed simple enough.

Years later, the Sarma Maker 3000 found itself living in our cupboard, never really seeing the light of day. Even when I finally mastered the art of making sarma/tolma/dolma myself, it never crossed my mind. That changed this past Easter, when I decided I would make sarma for our Sunday feast. I would be the one in charge (aka my sister wouldn't help) so I figured a little help would go a long way.

For the life of me, I could not remember how to use it, and was ready to curse the machine back into oblivion before I remembered YouTube existed. I searched something along the lines of "how to use the weird sarma rolling thing" and voila, there were video responses. I scrolled down to find one that wasn't 12+ minutes long and watched one super dramatic video with Turkish music in the background where they kept zooming in at the worst times, but I eventually got it (I had even set it up the wrong way).

For those like me, who do not know how to use it, I will show you through the power of photos and words and then let you know my review. First, after setting it up like in the header photo, get it ready to receive a grape leaf by pressing down on the black band towards the mobile "cap" (the right) and then place the leaf on top:
Then, press down on the leaf so it conforms to the shape of the band that you pressed down. Basically, tuck it in real nice:
You can now fill your leaf up. One thing to note with the Sarma Maker 3000 is that you cannot put in too much filling. I learned this the hard way and the machine is merciless and will destroy everything in its path if there is too much filling (the destroyed leaves were given a new purpose by becoming the ones I lined the pot with). It was hard for me since I like packed sarmas, but about one teaspoon was all the machine would accept.
Once you add the filling, even it out and tuck it into the groove so it sits in there. Then you take the cap (the pink part to the right) and move it towards the left. Be fearless and swift:
Cigaro sarmas! And you can see the "cap" I keep referring to above. I have to admit, I was pretty happy to see it worked and probably looked like this:
Verdict? Good and bad, and I will begin with the good. For people who genuinely have trouble with the rolling process, and find that their sarmas always fall apart while cooking, the Sarma Maker 3000 keeps them super tight, and uniformly sized. There were no inconsistent sizes, even when the leaves themselves were. In this regard, it makes sense. These are the ones I rolled with the Sarma Maker 3000:
Now that I've buttered the creators up, I will say that in terms of speed and convenience, hand rolling wins in both categories. I have to admit I felt very cool using the roller successfully, and was filled with joy every time one of those little cigaro sarmas would pop out, but it took way too much time and my playlist wasn't long enough to accommodate that. So, after the amount I did in the photo above, and after showing it off to everyone who was home, I gently moved the roller aside, and finished the job by stuffing every leaf to its full potential, with no regrets. You can see the end result here, to the right (I should have zoomed in, I know):
While the cigaro sarmas were still delicious (it's all about the broth, baby), I preferred the ones that had more filling and personally don't mind when they are different sizes. So while I will keep the roller and will probably whip it out to show it off from time to time, when you want fast and efficient sarma-rollin', by hand (even solo) is the winner in my books.

1 comment:

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